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Proposed statement, no hrs specified, L.A. say that's how it's done in Herts-TRUE???(7 Posts)
I have recently moved into Herts and my son's statement, originally issued in Hackney with 19 hrs per week attached, has been moved across too. When I saw that proposed statement it looked pretty much like like the old Hackney one with a just 1, but a huge thing, missing - it did not have any hours specified at all. I have been told by the L.A. that that is how it's done in Herts but I'm suspicious - the head at his school talked about there being no funding attached for them unless it was over a certain number of hours and the secondary school we went to see said something similar. So it seems to me that schools are talking about hours when the L.A. seems to be denying they are specified as a rule.
My whole experience with the statementing process has left me hugely cynical and untrusting so I'd just like to gather some evidence/get an idea of whether people are being issued with less vague statements.
I have been in touch with IPSEA who were, as always, amazing - told me not to accept it and to ask for a meeting with them - that the statement should be quantifiable, which was what I was thinking. They said that case law has proved this so to stand my ground. I'd just be very happy to hear from other people with statements in Herts to see if they have specified and quantifiable support on their statements. It would give me confidence to be more insistent in my meeting with L.A.
I've had the especial pleasure of dealing with Herts LA - but with an out of county placement. I don't have a statement of my own with the Herts quality
kitemark shitemark on it.
But from my own experience and the collective wisdom of MNSN, this is how you can tell whether Herts LA are lying to you:
- If they are communicating with you face-to-face, look out for their lips moving. If they are moving, they are either lying to you or recommending a course of blatantly unlawful behaviour.
- If they are communicating with you via e-mail, then an easy way to work out whether they are lying to you, or recommending a course of blatantly unlawful behaviour, is to look out for e-mail addresses that end in "@hertfordshire.gov.uk"
Don't worry about whether other people are getting statements that aren't specified or quantified. The simple, 96-point-font Times New Roman fact is that they are acting unlawfully in issuing a statement without specified or quantified provision.
Herts LA know what the law says that statements must be specified and quantified as a rule. They just don't know yet that you know this. They are trying it on, like the dissolute, morally bankrupted bottom-dwellers that they are. And by removing specified and quantified provision that is already there in a statement ported over from another LA, they are compounding their outrageous behaviour.
If you keep going, they will ultimately have no choice but to give way. Just grit your teeth, and you'll get there in the end.
Thank you so much for your entertaining and informative response. Although I am obviously horrified that I seem to have relocated to a part of the country that has pretty appalling S.E.N track record (although my experience in Hackney was also a trial) I am glad to have some information to fuel my determination to hopefully get the help my son needs.
I am constantly shocked by what I hear about other peoples experiences of trying to access the help their children need, thankfully there is decent support and advice from people like you.
Cheers for your help, much appreciated, have a good evening!
Yes, sorry to confirm you have picked a right one with Herts.
Do you have a chance to move anywhere else?
OK - go and buy a pair of emotional dungarees....
Just before I open the floodgates , I should ask what the expert reports said that led to 19 hours appearing in the Statement.
And are Herts changing you to an EHCP?
Assuming your expert reports say something close to 19 hours, and you are not being swapped to an EHCP then here goes:-
The way that Herts reason is that they put a lot more of their funding into schools than most LAs.
That being so, the test for whether a statement is needed will be met less frequently than for other LAs, because the test is about whether your DCs needs can be met from the funds normally available to schools in the area. More funds = fewer statements. Logical.
But with your case, they do not seem to be saying that the school has enough money to pay for all the provision in Part 3 and therefore your DC does not need a statement. They have just gone off on a little mystery tour with no law/code of practice behind it at all.
SO given that you already have a statement there is, as I understand it, ABSOLUTELY NO justification for just deleting 19 hours. That is a unilateral amendment without an annual review or a request to re-assess. It is not based on any assessment of your DC and they are supposed to look at each child as an individual.
I would just tell them that they have made a mistake and suggest that they check with the solicitors whether they haven't accidentally (!!) broken the law. Copy the legal department in - and if you get no joy first time, then write direct to the legal department and copy the case worker.
Also, ask IPSEA if you can JR with a legal aid firm - the legal aid for JR is measured on DC's income and assets. JR is what is used to enforce a statement.
Your case is slightly different because they have amended the statement rather than refused to provide what is in it, so I don't have enough law in my head to know what options there are for that.
Also JR wants you to use them as a last resort although there is an exception for cases like kids cases where time is critical. But if JR on legal aid is a possibility, then you have just gained a nuclear bomb in your arsenal.
I admit that, because I am almost always after a resolution in the quickest time, I usually mention JR in passing. Because it is nuclear bomb, then an off-the-cuff mention, apparently with their best interests in heart, may wake them up and do what you want. Eg:-
'I think you made a mistake. IPSEA says DCs can get JR to take LAs through the High Court when they do that and it costs LAs a fortune, but I'm sure it won't come to that - it is obviously just a mistake and I'm sure it will sort itself out when you check with the legal department'. And copy it in to legal department, of course, saying that you are copying it to them to be helpful and reduce the burden on the overworked officials in this time of austerity etc etc. Believe me, a JR is long and tough so it is worth all this cutie pie sweetness if you can get the fear of one to make them give in.
What really interests me is the 'not our policy'. And 'not how we do it in Herts'. Having a whole policy that is unlawful I really hope would be VERY interesting to IPSEA. So if you can manage to get evidence of that policy you could be a hero for the many that follow. A freedom of information request might do it.
By the way, Herts also have a fund called ENF - Extra Needs Funding which they like to say is part of the money normally available to mainstream schools in the area. Unfortunately, they forgot to check the law again....
They also used to have a thing on their website that said 'in Herts only kids at special school needed a statement'. It has been taken down now, presumably they got fed up of having it trotted out in front of Tribunals and having their wrists slapped for having a policy that didn't have regard to the Code of Practice (or unlawful as the less charitable called it).
An EP told me that they routinely refuse to assess and when you have won that tribunal they then refuse to statement even in cases that look strongly like special school. The Notes in Lieu are just reams of unquantified guff completely impractical to enforce in the classroom.
So three tribunals later you may get what you need.
Oh and they regularly seek leave to appeal to the upper tribunal.
All this makes me realise I have another idea for Mr Timson o the thread on the child tab,
Sorry this is long and detailed, but I hope it helps
Thank you so much for taking time to reply. Statement given for behavioral and emotional reasons. It was issued about 2 weeks before we moved. Sounds like we never would have got one in Herts for these reasons. I'm assuming by JR you are meaning judicial review?
All your advice/thoughts/information very interesting and useful, thank you.
I'm a bit confused by that last bit of your message
"All this makes me realise I have another idea for Mr Timson o the thread on the child tab,"
Please clarify if you get a moment.
Again, many thanks, looks like I'm up for more time consuming and stressful battles. Woo Hoo, just what I need!!
So wassup had news of a meeting with the relevant minister Timpson MP and was asking what she could suggest for the agenda. There was not much time, so I shot off and put your experience on the agenda - unjustified amendments to a statement.
If you want to see it, look under the 'child' tab and at the bottom is a list of subjects. The first one is 'chat about your child' and wassup's thread is called 'My MP is meeting Ed Timpson on my behalf -any1 have anything they want to put to him here as well'
It makes a good read.
If you put a post there for Herts info you will get a lot more ideas
Fab, found it, thanks very much. I'll watch with interest...
Thank you for thinking to do that!
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